Posted on 16/09/2019
From their unique home in a listed Victorian railway water tower at St Pancras, the fortunate members of the St Pancras Cruising Club overlook one of the busiest stretches of canal in London. Unlike other London societies such as the volunteer-based Lower Regent’s Coalition in Mile End, the St Pancras Cruising Club exist not to maintain the towpath and canal but to ensure the canal is still used for the purpose it was originally created: navigation.
St Pancras Cruising Club organises a great programme of annual cruises that includes short evening jaunts around London to lengthier journeys that take members far into the national network. A cruise could just be a trip through the nearby Islington Tunnel and back in time for dinner or it could be an epic adventure all the way to Lincolnshire for a trip across the Wash. The club is usually present at the annual Thames Tideway London ring – from Little Venice to Limehouse then along the Thames to Brentford and back into central London – and there are also Solstice, Halloween and Christmas trips. You can be a full or associate member (associate membership is for non-boat owners), and that gives you access to the Waterpoint at St Pancras. This homely clubhouse is a listed structure that features the club bar and terrific views over London from the roof. The water tower can be visited for occasional open days, including during Open House London.
As a group with such a huge stake in the future of the canals, the club works closely with Canal & River Trust to promote the benefits of the canals and to ensure the network remains in the best possible condition. As well as organising cruises, club members participate in monthly work parties to maintain the stretch of canal around the Waterpoint. The pretty gardens, Waterpoint and basin are all cleaned by members on a voluntary basis, and the club also provides facilities such as pump out and diesel for passing boaters.